Nebula Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi has made a name for himself writing stories set in a bleak near-future following an environmental collapse. A more timely novel could not exist than his latest, Ship Breaker, his first Young Adult offering and possibly his strongest work to date. Narrator Joshua Swanson brings precisely the young, street-wise performance needed to carry this story.
Nailer Lopez is fighting to survive in a devastated world, doing the only work a boy on the verge of manhood can do "light crew" duty as a ship breaker, salvaging copper wire from the rusting hulks of tankers left wrecked on America's Gulf Coast. Every day is a struggle to make quota and find the best salvage to stay in the good graces of his crew. There is always the hope of the big score: a pocket of petroleum, precious fuel in an age of exhausted wells, drowned cities, and risen seas, where any energy source is precious.
When Nailer and his best friend Pima come across the find of a lifetime, a salvage that could buy him freedom not just from the brutality of light crew but from his abusive father as well, there's only one problem it comes with a swank, a rich girl named Nita. Nita has value just like everything else, and Nailer is faced with a choice: keep her ship and buy his independence, or he can go the far more dangerous but possibly more profitable route and help her. Nailer, Pima, and the identity of newly nick-named "Lucky Girl" are always on the edge of discovery by Nailer's drug-addicted father, his crew, and the genetically augmented "half-man", Tool.
Joshua Swanson was well cast. His style is wholly appropriate to a dystopia, and he is completely convincing as he takes us through Nailer's dilemmas and perils. This is a fast-paced story of adventure and suspense, and Swanson's narration while careful and precise carries the tension well. He skillfully handles the voicing of the story's main female characters, Pima and Nita, without slipping into the narrative pitfalls of falsettos or needless breathiness. Bacigalupi's cast is vast and varied, but Swanson manages to keep the listener oriented through adept pitch and passable island dialects here and there.
This is a performance that draws the listener into the dark recesses of a rusted and starving world. Though marketed as Young Adult, there is plenty here for any lover of near-future dystopian literature to enjoy. Christie Yant
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota - and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life.
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
©2010 Paolo Bacigalupi (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"Narrator Joshua Swanson makes this harsh dystopian world all too believable. He adjusts the pacing to fit the intensity of the action and gives each character a voice that fits his or her personality. This is superb listening for teens—and adults too—even those who aren’t big fans of science fiction." (AudioFile)
Elderly, bookish person, omnivorous reader, only bothers to review books she considered worth reading.
Absolutely the best science fiction novel I've read in years. The storytelling and world building equals that of the old masters of scifi. The necessary violence is handled well and described with reasonable restraint. I suspect a couple generations hence will be looking at this book the way current youngsters view the predictions of Arthur C. Clarke. A don't miss book for anyone who enjoys the genre or is interested in speculation about the implications of climate change..
The vividness and rich detail of characterization, setting, and plot gave this story the kind of riveting interest that marked the best scifi of the Golden Age. I literally read this book to the end without pause, couldn't put it down.
I had no trouble understanding every word though I kept volume at a barely medium level. He did NOT overdue the variation of voices and what dialect there was he handled with excellent restraint, choosing to successfully communicate this particular book over (sarcasm here aimed at the overactors who have ruined some Audible narrations for me) the possibility that enough remarkable voice changes would get him a regular gig on Cartoon Network. His voice was pleasant to listen to and kept to a reasonably steady volume. I thought his reading of this book was excellent.
I listen to audiobooks.
illogical plot lines.
incorrect data about construction and materials.
fantastical spewing of jumbled mess.
Two books that are similar to me in their portrayal of possible future events are Windup Girl and Seven Eves. This one was more "personal" to me because it explores the issue of "family" and the ties (both negative & positive) that bind. It also mirrors the biases and prejudices of culture & status rampant in the burgeoning political landscape we are currently witnessing.
Very imaginative, good character development, great visual world
14, Ready Player One. Completely unreal worlds made real and compelling.
It was good.
An interesting post apocalypse world where word is bond and your crew is your family. Cut throat competition just to stay alive drives the protagonist - but he's more than just a lice biter. Is it enough though?
This is my 3rd novel from author and coincidentally it is my third favorite. tied for first and second is "the windup girl" and "the water knife". I really, really like those two and thought "shipbreaker " was good.
In the top 50%
His performance was perfect. I really liked that he could portray various characters differently. He wan't just reading the book.
No. It just entertained.
The book was well-paced and kept me reading. It also challenged my thinking about people and their conditions.
I'm a big fan of si-fi, but I'm finding that a love for mysteries budding up in me. I also like a lot of nonfiction.
I bought this one as a daily deal from Audible.com; I found that this is a great way to try books that one might not every try otherwise. Ship Breaker is set in a dystopian future where a poor boy meets a rich girl. Although there is nothing new with this kind of plot, It was still a great book about how they were thrown together and the adventures they have together. I would recommend it to any fan of dystopian si-fi. It makes a great teen reader as well.
Bacigalupi has an incredible gift for letting you see a view into what could happen, and maybe is already.
Unfortunately, Joshua Swanson gives a reading that at times is very wooden.
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